Esperanza Spalding is overwhelmingly talented. You probably already know her story: self-taught violinist, youngest faculty member ever at Berklee, self-produced first album widely celebrated. But can she live up to the hype? esperanza-spalding-01 Esperanza Spalding by Mike Rainey In a word: yes. Not only does she have a smooth voice that ranges from sweet and soulful to echoes of a pre-pubescent Michael Jackson, but she plays one heck of a bass. Her bass playing doesn't just happen with her fingers; Spalding leans in with her whole body, leaning in and twisting as if her motion can wring extra life out of the notes. And perhaps that's her secret. Her bass-playing leads the way in her music; the trumpet acts as a hot exclamation point at the end of every musical phrase. esperanza-spalding-02 Richard Vogt, Esperanza Spalding and Otis Brown, by Mike Rainey Esperanza Spalding's music is the sort you'd hear at a great wine bar on a perfect sunshiny afternoon as you watched the world walk by. Her music is fresh and exciting, but still draws from traditional sounds. She was a perfect choice to open Friday night's Jimmy Lyons Stage program at the Monterey Jazz Festival. esperanza-spalding-03 Esperanza Spalding by Mike Rainey For all our coverage of the Monterey Jazz Festival, see our Monterey Jazz Festival category.